Equestrian Life

Equestrian Life

The equestrian community of the Sandhills is steeped in history and of international renown. The Moore County Hounds were established in 1914. You can see reenactments of the hunt culture staged annually by the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. The Blessing of the Hounds is attended by hundreds each Thanksgiving morning. The Pinehurst Harness Track was constructed in 1915. The Walthour-Moss Foundation contains approximately 4000 acres of open land specifically for equestrian use and is located along May Rd. in Southern Pines.

Although the horse country is centered around Youngs Road in Southern Pines, many of the adjacent communities have thriving equestrian communities as well. Chief among these is the Carolina Horse Park which hosts many events. Be sure to visit Southern Pines from February to early April to view the Painted Ponies Art Walk as dozens of beautiful life-sized horses adorn Broad Street in the downtown shopping district for all to admire.


For riders, breeders and spectators, it’s a mane attraction.

For golfers, this is it, of course – heaven on earth. But this is serious horse country too, a premier equestrian community thanks to the sandy soil and mild climate that combine to create one of the best places to raise, keep and ride horses. And folks have been doing just that for more than a century. It’s a world of farriers and farms, riders and drivers, stables and saddleries, first-rate equestrian events and the simple elation of the wind through your hair.

Just saddle up and explore Moore County’s miles of riding trails, and facilities such as the state-of-the-art Equestrian Center in the lakefront community of McLendon Hills.When you’re on horseback, trotting past thick stands of trees, your mind can’t help but drift to a time when the land was mostly pure wilderness. Heck, when you’re in the saddle, feet in stirrups, reins in hand, it’s hard to believe things like mortgages and stock markets even exist. Our horse country stretches roughly from northeast Southern Pines to the borders of Fort Bragg, outside Fayetteville. The people who call the area home treat their horses like members of the family. Neighbors generally allow free passage for riders in exchange for the same courtesy, making for a much larger area to explore and fostering an incredibly close knit community. If a twilight ride ends early over a bottle of wine on a neighbor’s back porch, so much the better.

Some of the most beautiful rides can be enjoyed on the more than 4,000 acres set aside by the Walthour-Moss Foundation  just a mile outside Southern Pines. Essentially a vast nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary bordered by horse farms and laced with sandy lanes and trails, the area is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

If you don’t ride, that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy equestrian life from other perspectives.  Carolina Horse Park,  between Aberdeen and Raeford, annually hosts the Stoneybrook Steeplechase as well as several dressage and other national and international competitions, which draw huge crowds of spectators. The steeplechase began in Southern Pines and will hold its 60th running on April 2. The Moore County Driving Club  hosts an annual Christmas horse carriage parade through downtown Southern Pines that’s one of the region’s highlights of the holiday season.

And in the Village of Pinehurst, you can’t overlook the historic Pinehurst Harness Track, a 111-acre equestrian center that opened in 1915. At this major winter training facility for Standardbreds (a nearby field often hosts polo matches), between October and May you can watch horses being put through their paces in the early morning while enjoying a hearty breakfast at the Pinehurst Track Restaurant.

Where to see the events or compete:

Running Start Horse Trails

Carolina Horse Park – Many events throughout the year

Dressage in the Carolinas

Pinehurst Harness Track– season is generally May-September

Blessing of the Hounds- Each Thanksgiving Day

Carriage Parade – 2nd Saturday in December in Southern Pines put on by the Moore County Driving Club

Painted Ponies Art Walk & Auction

Painted Ponies Art Walk & Auction is a public art display of horses and colts. Artists from the area donated their time and talent to turn each pony into a work of art. Local businesses sponsored the ponies and they are displayed in locations along Broad Street in Historic Downtown Southern Pines.

The Ponies are on display from early February to Early Arpil. Enjoy a stroll through town to view the Painted Ponies! Take a photo with your favorite pony and share it on social media with #PaintedPoniesCHP to introduce family and friends to the newest herd in town. Proceeds benefit the Carolina Horse Park Foundation.

Moore County Driving Club Moore County Driving Club is located in Southern Pines of Moore County, North Carolina. The county offers lots of resources for equine owners and driving enthusiasts. The Walthour Moss Foundation provides miles of trails for riding and carriage driving. New carriage trails were added in 2009.In addition to driving clinics, pleasure shows and combined driving events, the club has social outings with lunch and live music and covered dish/dinner meetings once a month.

Carolina Polocrosse Club  The Carolina Polocrosse Club is a perennial powerhouse in the American Polocrosse Association and one of the largest Polocrosse clubs in the country. We have players and coaches with experience at the top levels of international play who help to teach and coach other club members, including first-timers. We promote a fun, yet competitive, atmosphere. Many of our members bring their whole family to club events, and we routinely have teams where siblings or parents and children are playing side-by-side.

Antares Dressage  Training lessons and shows

Supporting Services Sponsor a series of dressage schooling shows.

Carthage Buggy Festival Started in 1989, the Carthage Buggy Festival is a celebration of the rich history of Carthage, North Carolina. The Buggy Festival is held each year to commemorate the famous Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory that, from the mid-1800’s to the 1920’s, produced the carriages that were essential to life in rural North Carolina. On Saturday, May 9, 2020, the 32nd Annual Carthage Buggy Festival will be held in Carthage, located eight miles north of Pinehurst in the Sandhills region of North Carolina, and it promises to be the biggest and best yet. With an annual attendance of approximately 20,000, the Buggy Festival has grown into one of the biggest and best known festivals in the region.

Where to ride with my horse:

Walthour- Moss Foundation 

Weymouth Woods Bridle Trail 

McClendon Hills Private Equestrian Community


Where can I ride a horse?

Circle M City Sanford


Where can  I ride in a Carriage?

Carriage ride through the Village of Pinehurst    Carriage Rides of Pinehurst


Where can I take lessons?

Dragstra Stables

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Foxtrack Training Center


Where to shop:

Cabin Branch Tack Shop

A Bit Used Prancing Horse Tack Shop

Barn Door Consignments

The Country Sadler 

Aberdeen Supply  The best, most complete garden center around. Conventional and organic as well as all horse food and grooming needs.

Carthage Farm Supply 

Moore Equine a feed, tack, and pet supply store located in the heart of horse country in Southern Pines, NC. We carry a large variety of quality hay year around as well as a variety of feeds.

Where can I have a Horse Themed Event?

Circle M City-Sanford

The Fair Barn

Reflections Farm NC

Twin Fields Farm

Where to stay on a Horse Farm:

Twin Fields

Tanglewood Farm B&B 


Where to eat & watch horses:

Pinehurst Track Side Restaurant 


Where can I connect with local Horse Groups?

Moore County Driving Club

Moore County Hounds

Carolina Polocrosse Club


One Day Equestrian Itinerary

If you only have ONE Day and you love everything Equestrian here is the itinerary for you…

Breakfast at Pinehurst Track Restaurant and watch Pacers/Trotters training. Tour stables, and restored Pinehurst Fair Barn. Drive to Southern Pines and out Young’s Rd. to see numerous horse farms and horses. Be sure to check the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Calendar of Events just incase there is an equestrian competition, polo, or carriage drive in progress

Lunch in historic downtown Southern Pines at one of the many unique, quaint restaurants along both sides of Broad Street.

From Southern Pines continue to the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens located on the Sandhills Community College campus. Enter through the new visitors center where one may view an introductory video and other photos depicting the history of the gardens. Enter the 25 acres of gardens that include the largest holly collection on the East Coast, roses, conifers, rhododendron and azaleas, a formal English garden and native wetland trail. Sculptures throughout the gardens and a winding waterfall add to the beauty of the entire setting.

All Things Equestrian


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